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February 13, 2007

Edwards' netroots coordinator Melissa McEwan resigns

John Edwards' netroots coordinator, Melissa McEwan has tendered her resignation. It should be noted that threats from certain self-proclaimed Christians figured prominently in her decision to leave her job as a part-time web consultant.

I'm reposting Melissa's announcement in full because I'm afraid that her blog, Shakespeare's Sister, may be hit by the same malicious denial of service attacks that have been plaguing Amanda Marcotte's Pandagon all day. It's ironic that women who speak out against patriarchal and misogynist threads in organized religion get pummeled with graphic rape threats...

Melissa writes:

I regret to say that I have also resigned from the Edwards campaign. In spite of what was widely reported, I was not hired as a blogger, but a part-time technical advisor, which is the role I am vacating.

I would like to make very clear that the campaign did not push me out, nor was my resignation the back-end of some arrangement made last week. This was a decision I made, with the campaign's reluctant support, because my remaining the focus of sustained ideological attacks was inevitably making me a liability to the campaign, and making me increasingly uncomfortable with my and my family's level of exposure.

I understand that there will be progressive bloggers who feel I am making the wrong decision, and I offer my sincerest apologies to them. One of the hardest parts of this decision was feeling as though I'm letting down my peers, who have been so supportive.

There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and my inbox with vitriol and veiled threats. It is not right-wing bloggers, nor people like Bill Donohue or Bill O'Reilly, who prompted nor deserve credit for my resignation, no matter how much they want it, but individuals who used public criticisms of me as an excuse to unleash frightening ugliness, the likes of which anyone with a modicum of respect for responsible discourse would denounce without hesitation.

This is a win for no one.

My sources in the Edwards camp confirm that neither blogger was fired.

I predict that the biggest loser in all this will be Bill Donohue's Catholic League. In the process of hounding a couple of bloggers, the so-called civil rights organization may have jeopardized its vital 501(c)(3) status. As a tax-exempt organization, the CL is forbidden by law from interfering with political campaigns.

Our taxes should not be subsidizing lobbying by religious extremists.

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Comments

Sven

Interestingly, the Gospel quote you use contrasts “mote” (or beam) with speck, (i.e.- it precisely indicates a matter of degree. Also it requires the removal of said “mote” for the express purpose of having the ability to help your neighbor then remove his “speck”.

John Protevi

Shorter John – Don’t dismiss my fellow co-religionists unless you wasted your education like we did.

(for the record I know far more about feminism than I care to know)

No, dipshit. It - the King James version of Matthew 7:3 contrasts mote with beam.

Hope that helps.

Who's this "King James"??

Fitz, a "shorter" is supposed to be relevant to what the person actually said.

Anyway, I'm calling bullshit on the following: for the record I know far more about feminism than I care to know

Okay, time to put up or shut up. List ten works of feminism, with special attention to feminist critiques of religion, that you have studied.

Well John, you have set quite a high bar for commenting on the “Majikthise” Blog. Should all commentators on Catholicism prove they went to semianary?

Regardless, I dismiss your challenge…

As stated: ”for the record I know far more about feminism than I care to know” And more than most. If I know anything, I know the following…

Describing the synthesis of feminist theory Linda J. Lacey, in her Introducing Feminist Jurisprudence stated “all feminists adhere to two basic positions: first, that society is shaped and dominated by men and is therefore patriarchal; and second that society subordinates women to men.”

I dispute both contentions vigorously. If Lacey is correct then the entire house of cards comes down. I realize that an entire cottage industry of academics have a vested interest in perpetrating this fraud. Never the less, I find it to be inhuman at its very core.

When I say co-religionists I mean exactly that. To question the tenants of feminism is to question religious dogma amongst the intellectual. Just ask Larry Summers.

1. Gary Minda POSTMODERN LEGAL MOVEMENTS 128 (New York university Press 1995)

I dispute both contentions vigorously.

Or at least you say you do. Beyond this you demonstrate nothing more than an AM radio grasp of feminism.
.

Fitz, I'm not setting any bar to commenters at Majikthise. I'm calling bullshit on your claim to "know" much of anything about feminism. So far you've done nothing to back up your claim to "know" it other than to say you "dispute" what one feminist said, and not on the basis of argument, but on the basis of your "finding" her claim "inhuman," whatever on earth that can mean.

Your talking point about feminist "dogma" is embarrassing. If there's anything that feminists complain about it is intercine warfare. So I'll repeat my challenge: I think you're a big-talking buffoon when it comes to feminism and I doubt you've even read Lacey's article, let alone anything else.

And finally, you really are good for laughs, but really, "tenants" instead of "tenets"? That's even better than "fate accompli," because while the latter if French, the former is a plain old English word. So what is it, are you some kind of phonetic speller or something? That might be okay in Spanish or Italian, but unfortunately in English it only produces teh funny.

Fitz disputes both contentions vigorously.....welll sheeit why didn't I know this before!

I mean if Fitz disputes something it must be utterly false.

And I know what you mean about this feminist religion, man. I mean you can't spit without hitting some feminist church, they are practically on every corner. Feminist liturgy seeping out the front door (shiver) Those proselytizing feminists hanging out on the street corners, waving a copy of the "Mystique" in my face. Knocking on my door on Saturday morning after I have had a long of night of drinking, hanging out in strip clubs and chasing women. Holy Hell dude, they expect me to give that up! Can you imagine! The nosy moralizers.

I got to go now, the wife has dinner ready.

“I'm calling bullshit on your claim to "know" much of anything about feminism.”

That’s a pretty low bar, most people, just through benefit of college and contemporary society can straddle that one.

“So far you've done nothing to back up your claim to "know" it other than to say you "dispute" what one feminist said,’

Why would I take up your provocation on such a broad basis? Am I expected to satiate the bent feelings of an academic over the spurring of his cherished beliefs from a position of having to demonstrate that I know “much of anything”?

"and not on the basis of argument, but on the basis of your "finding" her claim "inhuman," whatever on earth that can mean. “

That means I find feminism to be beneath what it means to be human. Exactly as the word is commonly used.

“Your talking point about feminist "dogma" is embarrassing. If there's anything that feminists complain about it is intercine warfare.”

Yes, every time you get your hands around their neck they disappear into ether.

Well John, for Gods sake, you teach on the subject… either feminism exhibits some philosophical cohesion, or it’s a bunch of babble.

Do you agree with Linda J. Lacey when she asserts “all feminists adhere to two basic positions: first, that society is shaped and dominated by men and is therefore patriarchal; and second that society subordinates women to men.” ???

You challenge me and then you dismiss my opening salvo as just so much “intercine warfare” grist for the feminist mill. I believe Lacey has made a rather essentialist claim. Let me know if you find it accurate and we can proceed on with a bit of common ground to share.

(Sorry Linsday, better like this)

“I'm calling bullshit on your claim to "know" much of anything about feminism.”

That’s a pretty low bar, most people, just through benefit of college and living in contemporary society can straddle that one.

“So far you've done nothing to back up your claim to "know" it other than to say you "dispute" what one feminist said,’

Why would I take up your provocation on such a broad basis? Am I expected to satiate the bent feelings of an academic over the spurring of his cherished beliefs from a position of having to demonstrate that I know “much of anything”?

"and not on the basis of argument, but on the basis of your "finding" her claim "inhuman," whatever on earth that can mean. “

That means I find feminism to be beneath what it means to be human. Exactly as the word is commonly used.

“Your talking point about feminist "dogma" is embarrassing. If there's anything that feminists complain about it is intercine warfare.”

Yes, every time you get your hands around their neck they disappear into ether.

Well John, for Gods sake, you teach on the subject… either feminism exhibits some philosophical cohesion, or it’s a bunch of babble.

Do you agree with Linda J. Lacey when she asserts “all feminists adhere to two basic positions: first, that society is shaped and dominated by men and is therefore patriarchal; and second that society subordinates women to men.” ????

You challenge me and then you dismiss my opening salvo as just so much “intercine warfare” grist for the feminist mill. I believe Lacey has a made a rather essentialist claim. Let me know if you find it accurate and we can proceed on with a bit of common ground to share.

Fitz, your backpedaling is pathetic. Why not just admit that you haven't read any feminist writings?

Better still, why don't you learn how to close an italics tag?

What backpedaling John... rather I think I have backed YOU into a corner.

Do you agree with Linda J. Lacey when she asserts “all feminists adhere to two basic positions: first, that society is shaped and dominated by men and is therefore patriarchal; and second that society subordinates women to men.” ????

This IS an essentialist claim.
(you teach freaking philosophy John...get it together)
Wadya think...


Fitz, your junior-high debating might have gotten you through law school (sigh), but the topic is your qualifications to be taken seriously in discussing feminism. So, let's get this straight: what have you read, other than one sentence of Lacey?

"A subsidy is a payment. Failing to make a collection is not the same as making a payment. I supposed you could say I'm splitting hairs, but I think a certain precision in the use of language is useful. I think it's useful to reserve "subsidizing" to groups the government is actually giving money to."

Good lord, is this 2007 or 1907? That sense of "subsidy is a payment" was eclipsed during the 1930s, when the Federal government expanded its role in the economy, partly through tax exemptions. At least since the tax increases/offsets of 1935, it's become common in America to refer to tax relief as a "subsidy". It is, in 2007, the main form of economic subsidy that the Federal government engages in. When we speak of the American government subsidizing the aerospace industry, or R&D, or certain agricultural industries, it is mostly in the form of tax relief, not outright payments. The use of tax relief, rather than outright payments, is one of the main differences between the American and European style of government subsidy.

This IS an essentialist claim.

An essentialist claim is one that proposes inherent differences between the genders. "Women are naturally attuned toward children's needs" is an essentialist claim. "Women who do the same kind of work as men get paid 9% less" isn't.

Feminism makes someone less likely to be a gender essentialist rather than more likely. A huge part of the apologetics for sexism is based on essential roles: women shouldn't vote because they're naturally less suited for politics, women shouldn't be allowed to work because they must be the caregivers, women should go to single-sex schools because their mode of learning is differenr from this of men, and so on. You won't find that in liberal feminism anywhere. No, the contention is that there hardly are any non-trivial gender differences, so the big gender gaps that arise everywhere make no sense.

Feminism makes someone less likely to be a gender essentialist


Yes. For example: Judith Butler's "gender is a performance" thoughts, ect.

Fitz - you're waaaay out of date.

Fitz, if you do come back, let's be clear about something. I was not inviting you to debate "feminism." I was, based on your inept and cliched comments, challenging you as to your knowledge base on the subject by asking you to list some feminist works you've read. I picked 10 as a nice number, but I'd settle for 8. So you're right, "backpedaling" is the wrong word. "Changing the subject" is the right word for your attempt to hide the fact that you've evidently not read much if any feminist works by your "opening salvo." Add to the military language the very disturbing image of you trying to "get your hands around their [feminists'] necks" and an amateur shrink (not me!) would have a field day. Maybe we can get Dr. BLT here from Sadly, No?

Alon, I don’t think this guy was referring to gender essentialism. He was talking about the shared minimum claims of feminism, not any inherent properties of women.

Second, some feminists actually are gender essentialists, not least those who’re unsympathetic to Judith Butler.

"challenging you as to your knowledge base on the subject by asking you to list some feminist works you've read"

I think I understand John, since you seem to like my phrase “master of obviation” this is an example of it. Rather than cede a core tenet of feminism as accurate, you would much rather have me “qualify” to your standards first.

You seem to want an opportunity to be pedantic rather than substantive. How many works was it, 10 or is it eight now. Is this what is required of people to dispute one such as yourself. Is this how you ascend the “Olympian heights of aloofness” with your students?

Do I fail your esthetic?

"Changing the subject" is the right word for your attempt to hide the fact that you've evidently not read much if any feminist works by your "opening salvo."

I thought the subject was “Edwards' netroots coordinator Melissa McEwan resigns”

To which you replied “Shorter Fitz: As an attorney, I don't know shit about feminism.”

I take this to say: You have challenged something sacred to my worldview; I can’t stand some plebiscite such as yourself dismissing my cherished beliefs.
And then you starkly demand some arbitrary list of qualifications. Knowing “shit about feminism” requires that one read eight books?

“Okay, time to put up or shut up. List ten works of feminism, with special attention to feminist critiques of religion that you have studied.”
I won’t be put in a position to prove myself by your strange standards. People are sons and daughters, mothers, father’s, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, boyfriends, lovers, fiancés, grooms, husbands and undeniably human.

You on the other hand are a crude reductionist and deeply inhuman (as all feminists seem to be). You seek to use your perceived superior knowledge as a cloak and cudgel to deny what is manifest and profoundly true about our humanity. That masculinity and femininity are arbitrary social constructs; mere power dynamics inherently oppressive in design and execution, rather than incarnate truths embodied in our heritage and ourselves.

KH, you're giving him too much credit. It certainly is one reading of his sentence that "essentialism" refers to Lacey's treatment of feminism, but that would mean he's complaining about her underplaying the diversity of feminist opinion. But he doesn't mean that, as he thinks Lacey is accurately conveying feminist dogma (as a dogmatist -- witness his repeated claims about "Catholic teachings" -- he projects his dogmatism onto others). No, Fitz's confused use of "essentialism" refers to Lacey's treatment of "society" as patriarchal. What Fitz really means is that this is a reductionist treatment: it "inhumanly" reduces personal relations to power relations. But since Fitz once came across the term "essentialism" and thought it sounded neat, he now evidently uses it as an all-purpose criticism. That his performance here and elsewhere is that of a undergraduate with a penchant for misusing words ("tenants" for "tenets" is a real keeper) is sadly beyond his self-understanding.

Hey, what do you know. I was right. Our comments crossed in cyberspace. Fitz did mean "reductionist" when he used "essentialist." And the comedy keeps on coming: "plebiscite" for "plebian." Fitz, darling, don't try for big words until you know what they mean.

Why would you think I am using essentialist in the way feminist scholars use it?

Obviously I'm using it to mean "essential to"..

"That his performance here and elsewhere is that of a undergraduate with a penchant for misusing words"

One of the most pathetic aspects of our academic class is the fact that they never really mature beyond college. Forever steeped in adolescent minds allows them to condescend to the masses as if they are somehow a species of vulgar “undergraduates”.

All arguments proceed as some sickening preening status display between prima donna's.
I’m afraid the conversation is infinitely more important then university posturing…yet the left never gets past that.

I’m not challenging feminisms intellectual lineage nor breadth of scholarship, but rather its very humanity.

McEwan states that she's been hit by individuals who used public attacks to "unleash frightening ugliness."
McEwan needs to acknowledge and take responsibility for unleashing her own frightening ugliness. Her nastiness and vitriole do not belong in anyone's presidential campaign.

What exactly did McEwan say that was nasty? A little profanity on her personal blog before she worked for Edwards. Big fuckin' deal.

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